Five Steps To Take Before Starting Divorce Proceedings

siobhan rooney

Siobhan Rooney, head of Family and Partner of Pictons Solicitors, sets out her 5 steps to take before divorce proceedings.

1.            Take Some Time To Think:

I would always encourage a person considering divorce to take some time before taking steps to obtain a divorce.  A decision to end a marriage should not be an emotional one, but well thought through. I have found that clients who take a bit longer to start divorce proceedings find it easier to make decisions in relation to finances and children to the marriage, and perhaps find it easier to engage in more amicable ways of resolving disputes such as mediation, thereby saving costs, time and making the process less hostile.


2.            Let Your Spouse Know Of Your Intentions:

Each party to a marriage will come to terms with the end of their relationship at different times and in different ways.  Sometimes, one person is ready to end the marriage, whereas the other wants to reconcile.  An agreement on the issue may not always be possible, but a person’s intention to start divorce proceedings should be communicated beforehand, whether in person, email or text. A person receiving a divorce petition can become angry and vengeful, especially if surprised by receipt, and these emotions can make the process more difficult. Your spouse will need to be managed to ensure that proceedings can conclude as amicably as possible.


3.            Find Your Marriage Certificate:

In order to commence divorce proceedings you will need to provide the court with your original marriage certificate.  If you have lost it, it is possible to obtain a copy online.  If you were married abroad, it might be necessary to have your marriage certificate translated before proceedings can be commenced.


4.            Gather Information About Your Financial Position:

Obtaining a divorce is the administrative process of ending your marriage.  However, usually the issue that causes the most concern to a person relate to how financially they will survive post the divorce. I always seek to move financial matters forward as soon as possible and in order to do so I will require clients to provide me with an outline of their financial positions, as well as their spouses.  This will hopefully allow me to provide a client with some indication as to whether the family home will need to be sold and what monthly maintenance support they should expect from their spouse.


5.            Seek Legal Advice From a Specialist Divorce Solicitor:

It is so vitally important that you seek legal advice when contemplating divorce and before commencing proceedings to make sure that, from a legal perspective, you are in the best position to bring proceedings in a way that will meet your objectives. This is so even if you intend to deal with the proceedings yourself. Most solicitors will offer a low cost, fixed fee meeting at which you can discuss your objectives and obtain legal advice. There is no ongoing obligation to instruct that solicitor to deal with matters on your behalf, should you not wish to do so. However, a solicitor will advise you as to whether you are entitled to a divorce, what you should expect in relation to financial provision and arrangements for the children and discuss other matters which may affect you such as potential tax consequences of divorce and dealing with assets, Wills and inheritance prospects.  You can then be assured that your decision making moving forward is on an informed basis.

If you need advice, please contact us on 0800 302 9448 or complete the online form at the end of our ‘Family Law Solicitors’ page by clicking here